At one point, when there were too many things to keep track of, I started to carry a notebook with me at all times: A kind of external, analog and, as I first thought, static second brain.
In there (I am at least at book # 10 now) is an unruly mixture of dates, appointments, locations, lists, contacts, errants, links, random thoughts, acute ideas, etc.
This mess of words, numbers and other symbols experiences a treatment of crossing-outs, underlinings, grouping, linking (with arrows of a multitude of shapes) alterations, additions, subtractions, disintegration, annihilations (with wild force or with nice-looking spirals).
A current page is alive and morphing. It may become a rudimentary picture, with balance (or imbalance), impromptu composition, with it’s own energy and surprises out of nowhere, unintentional, emerging, self-organizing.
In these erratic arrangements I may find new forms and connections I can work into the chaos. Letters, words, scribbles and scrawls, lines and arrows become parts of figures, faces – literally embodiments. Eyes form spontaneously, placing themselves, looking back at me in concert with a variety of lively facial expressions, with pleas or disdain, with personality and maybe fate.
Barton, Stefan. Prototypes. Drawing.
In the book my personal notes become a chaos-generator. And the resulting disorder I can turn into an aesthetic problem, and, if inspired, a solution in the process. Some of the images (and note, the book is not a sketch-book) are silly, some seem profound, some I turn extern into full-grown paintings.
The unplanned images cannot possibly be completely coincidental. They are based on meaningful thoughts, information, and the processing thereof manifesting through pen and pencil. It appears that they are more than the sum of their parts, even if they might in fact be less, depending on the value of the initial momentary notes, any resulting revelations, and finally on the quality of the emerging picture, on which I might have spent a good amount of time.
Barton, Stefan. Nicht Nichts (Not Nothing – as you can see these two word are almost identical in German, unfortunately not in English, but not a drama… ;-)).
The unwitting and somewhat automatic (when on the phone for example) playing with letters and numeration make me realize which lines and forms and circumstances I am drawn to.
Barton, Stefan. Random Number Service. Drawings.
Recently these preferences find their way into other, ‘higher’ forms of artistic expression like intentional drawings and, as mentioned, paintings. In fact, words have found their way into my newer paintings precisely because of the action that takes place in the note-book. The words are not there to be read, they are just part of the artistic language. A layer of intrigue, mysterious and uncomplete messages perhaps.
Barton, Stefan. At the very End of Infinity. Drawings.
For me an empty page or canvas is not an inspiration for artistic work – chaos is.
Stefan Barton resides in a village near Hamburg, Germany, but he spent 20 Years in the US (San Francisco and Boston Area). He works on paintings, drawings and printmaking. To see more of his images contact Stefan (stefan.bartongmail.com ) visit http://clex-werk.blogspot.de/ or look at a book: